Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Road Trip Science, AKA "I win!"

We've spent a lot of time in the car the past two months for last minute road trips (7-12 hrs each way). J is an awesome plane traveler, but we are definitely not a car ride family (bike commuters, holiday fliers, etc). In order to pass the time and keep down the whining, we came up with a brief "I spy" like game where we made up the rules as we went (nobody ever does that, right?).**

We weren't prepared ahead of time, so we didn't create a chart. If you are ahead of your game, feel free to create a chart with stickers of things you might see. You can have your kid circle or check mark what they see as they see it or place stickers on a paper as they see the animal/agricultural item. Being that we're approaching Thanksgiving, I figured I'd share our fun game.

Things we saw and talked about:
  • Animals on the side of the road (like cows in the field, not raccoons smashed on the pavement). The first one who spots the animal says the name of the animal and says, "I win!" With toddlers and preschoolers, recognizing animals in the distance is a good science lesson.
  • What sound does the animal make?
  • What does the animal eat?
  • How many did you see/could you count?
  • Did you see a baby animal? What's the baby animal called?
  • Why do we have these animals? Do we drink their milk or use milk for cheeses? Do we eat them for protein - this still might be abstract to little kids that steak/hamburger comes from cows? Does their fur/wool keep us warm (sheep/llamas)?
  • Spot the agriculture. "Hay! I win!" Guess what the trees/farms on the side of the road are. Talk about fruit and veggies in season and how fruits and veggies help our bodies grow big and strong (and keep us healthy).
  • Talk about mountains. The higher you climb the mountain, the easier it is for your body to get tired. Also, there's snow on the top of the mountain. It's colder up there than down where we're driving.
  • We have (well J has) an obsession with construction vehicles, so we had long conversations about what each truck does and why it's useful (even though we might be stuck going slowly for that stretch, ultimately, the road will be better).
  • Random statues are my favorite, but they aren't really science. I guess you can look at the structural properties and talk about how tall/wide or the colors, but by the time you realize what you saw, the likelihood your kid would still be excited is slim. We saw a dragon and a cow statue.

**Our way of making up the rules didn't cause contention since we only have one kid, and we were more concerned about keeping him occupied and not whining. I'm sure you'll have to modify the "I win" game with more than one kid, or have set rules.

1 comment:

  1. Something funny I've noticed with my kids and road trips: the less we try to entertain them, the more fun they have! We play games similar to the ones you've mentioned here, but mostly we listen to music and they talk amongst themselves.

    I'm glad your trip went well!